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Brad

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers - First Flight to Tokyo

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Got my copy the other day. Finished disc 1 a second time. Very nice stuff indeed. 

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If anyone has a pdf of the booklet they could send, it would be greatly appreciated!

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Got a second copy in the meantime, and it's ok.

Gave it a first listen as well in the meantime, and it's pretty good, but hardly any surprises (not that I expected any).

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On 12/12/2021 at 8:57 PM, Mark13 said:

It became available here in The Netherlands a couple of weeks ago and I have already given it a few spins.

Audio is not spectacular but decent enough. The programme - as one might expect -  is somewhat more conservative than on American gigs, where Shorter's tunes were entering sets. 

I just checked my booklet, but no binding-errors here.

 

They played Shorter tunes (Nelly Bly and The Summit) on other concerts from this same Japanese tour. I'm not sure why they went with a slightly more conservative program for these particular shows and repeated a lot of these tunes for both shows like Now's the Time (others were incomplete takes as the tape ran out).

Edited by david weiss

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4 hours ago, david weiss said:

They played Shorter tunes (Nelly Bly and The Summit) on other concerts from this tour. I'm not sure why they went with a slightly more conservative program for these particular shows and repeated a lot of these tunes for both shows like Now's the Time (others were incomplete takes as the tape ran out).

Yes, the choice of tunes is a bit disappointing. They were clearly using a big commercial success they'd had with "Moanin'" and "Blues March". And, yes, they did play Shorter tunes at concerts. When I saw the same band three months later in Manchester I recall that they played "Lester Left Town".

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On 12/31/2021 at 11:54 PM, david weiss said:

They played Shorter tunes (Nelly Bly and The Summit) on other concerts from this same Japanese tour. I'm not sure why they went with a slightly more conservative program for these particular shows and repeated a lot of these tunes for both shows like Now's the Time (others were incomplete takes as the tape ran out).

So these were two different concerts on the same night, and neither concert is complete because some tunes were cut short? Which tunes were incomplete?

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With so many other recording by this group in my collection, I found this a bit disappointing. As has been said, the  Jazz Messengers have recorded these tunes many times. Also starting off the recording with a very lengthy drum solo was  not,  to my ears, a positive beginning. 

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What I do appreciate about this release though is that it is atypical, opening with that drum solo was not common, they departed a bit from their usual repertoire.

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I'm surprised that folk are surprised by the tune selection. I think the clue's in the album's title, they've appeared for the first time in a major new market they're going to want to consolidate the enthusiasm by playing the favourites, surely.  I'm also a fan of the opening drum solo.

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21 minutes ago, jazzbo said:

What I do appreciate about this release though is that it is atypical, opening with that drum solo was not common, they departed a bit from their usual repertoire.

:tup

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Posted (edited)

I picked up the 2CD version today - at around £10 it is good value (rare for HMV) and wasn’t going to fork out the £35+ for LPs with the sonics as they are. Nice booklet notes too.

I welcome the release as a memento of this band and what was, by all accounts, a landmark tour by the Messengers. The music comes across to me as relaxed and indicative of a very happy tour by this band, free from the tensions of the NYC scene. Musically not the greatest by this band but welcome nevertheless.

When I saw Blakey in the 80s he was still prominently featuring ‘Moanin’, ‘Blues March’ and ‘Night in Tunisia’, with infectious enthusiasm.

Interesting that the audio seems to have been recorded from a Nagra then transferred to 16mm cinetape before they started the audio restoration.

Edited by sidewinder

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6 hours ago, mjazzg said:

I'm surprised that folk are surprised by the tune selection. I think the clue's in the album's title, they've appeared for the first time in a major new market they're going to want to consolidate the enthusiasm by playing the favourites, surely.  I'm also a fan of the opening drum solo.

But this concert was after other Japanese concerts that did feature Shorter pieces. Maybe the incomplete pieces are Shorter tunes.

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On 1/4/2022 at 0:17 PM, jazzbo said:

What I do appreciate about this release though is that it is atypical, opening with that drum solo was not common, they departed a bit from their usual repertoire.

I believe when they played live, they opened with a drum solo most of the time....

On 1/4/2022 at 2:21 AM, bertrand said:

So these were two different concerts on the same night, and neither concert is complete because some tunes were cut short? Which tunes were incomplete?

From my notes.....
Like Someone in Love (incomplete, sounds like the tape ran out)
A Night in Tunisia Take 1 (incomplete, sounds like the tape ran out)
My Funny Valentine (incomplete) Trio
Round About Midnight Take 2 (incomplete)
 
None of these tunes went on for very long....
I don't know why they went for a slightly more conservative program for these shows but they were towards the end of their tour. 
This was potentially for some sort of film so perhaps they decided to stick with the hits? Who knows.....
 
 

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Thanks David.

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Drum solos, bass solos, put them at the front, middle, back of the record, I like them! 

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4 hours ago, Holy Ghost said:

Drum solos, bass solos, put them at the front, middle, back of the record, I like them! 

Ha! Me too! 

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On 1/7/2022 at 5:18 PM, david weiss said:

I believe when they played live, they opened with a drum solo most of the time....

From my notes.....
Like Someone in Love (incomplete, sounds like the tape ran out)
A Night in Tunisia Take 1 (incomplete, sounds like the tape ran out)
My Funny Valentine (incomplete) Trio
Round About Midnight Take 2 (incomplete)
 
None of these tunes went on for very long....
I don't know why they went for a slightly more conservative program for these shows but they were towards the end of their tour. 
This was potentially for some sort of film so perhaps they decided to stick with the hits? Who knows.....
 
 

The concert the day before was definitely filmed. The repertoire was somewhat less conservative in that they played 'Yama' and 'The Summit', but my hunch is that it is just a fluke that the 1/12 concert left out Shorter and Morgan tunes. There was no specific plan.

This is a great set, and I am pretty sure the only live date by the Shorter/Morgan/Timmons band from a foreign tour to be released on US Blue Note, the label to which Blakey was signed at the time. The others are from US club dates. I will take any record with Lee and Wayne together, one of my favorite partnerships ever.

It is kind of odd that they played two different halls in Tokyo 10 days apart, but then I am sure the demand was high. The Messengers also played two different venues in Paris in 1958 with Golson. So where else in Japan did they play on this tour? Looking at the Blakey chronology:

Art Blakey Chronology (and the Jazz Messengers) (jazzmf.com)

we have Osaka, Kobe and Nagoya, with no specific dates, but presumably between the two Tokyo dates. I wonder if any of these were recorded.

The live dates by this band are far from a 'you heard one, you hear them all' situation. I find the playing much more aggressive on the May 1961 Paris recordings, Wayne sounds borderline hostile. Was it perhaps because the band was soon to break up? Lee's 'personal problems' did not help the dynamic, I am sure.

I am also curious as to when Lee Morgan left the band exactly. Lee is on the 6/13/61 Impulse date, and in Baltimore right after. KD subs for Lee at Newport on 7/2 (I wish we knew more about that incident), but Lee is back with them in DC two days later. There are photos with Lee from the Jazz Gallery in late July/early August, but Hubbard is on board by 8/8/61 for a few tracks from Three Blind Mice. Bill Hardman may have filled in briefly in the interim. If the Jazz Gallery is really early August, then Hardman's tenure was very brief.

Jeff McMillan has different info in his Morgan chronology:

1956 (umich.edu)

1) Morgan is ill on 7/2/61, hence KD subbing.

2) Jazz Gallery is 7/11-16, but then apparently Lee is also in South America?

3) Hubbard is already with Blakey at the Village Gate on 7/25.

The Village Gate and Jazz Gallery dates need confirmation. I have the New Yorker CD-ROM, I will see what I can find out.

When did Lee come back? Hubbard is on Kyoto (2/20/64), Lee may have been at the Manne Hole as early as 3/10/64 per Fitzgerald, maybe slightly earlier. McMillan has more: Lee is not at the Village Gate on 2/21-22, but he rejoins in late February. He has Manne Hole gigs 2/28-3/8. Even better: the Messengers are on the Steve Allen show on 3/6, and UCLA has a copy. This is footage of Lee I have never seen, presumably the Indestructible lineup. I want to see that!

Charles Tolliver filled in briefly for Lee in June/July 1965, including Newport on 7/2/65. Would love to hear that! Lee's last gigs with Blakey were in August 1965, possibly at Manne's Hole.

I wonder if Blue Note/Zev Feldman are planning more Blakey releases. The 1/11/61 TV Show with the Sharps and Flats has never been on CD in the US, to my knowledge. And I still think a CD combining the 1959 Newport date with Lee and Mobley and the 1961 Newport date with KD and Wayne would be a most attractive package. Recordings of both are in the VOA/Newport collection at the Library of Congress. The former is 40 minutes, the latter is between 15-30 minutes depending on whether there are two songs or three. There is a story behind that I probably already told...

Bertrand.

 

Edited by bertrand

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Yes, he was definitely in the band by then. The unanswered question is whether he joined in late July or early August.

I thought Mosaic no longer controlled the Wolff images and their status was in limbo? I wonder if this related to the fact that the producers of the Blue Note documentary 'It Must Schwing' tracked down Wolff's family. Apparently, it was a surprise to everyone when a wife and kids showed up at the funeral in 1971. Wolff had kept his personal life very private.

 

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39 minutes ago, bertrand said:

Yes, he was definitely in the band by then. The unanswered question is whether he joined in late July or early August.

I thought Mosaic no longer controlled the Wolff images and their status was in limbo? I wonder if this related to the fact that the producers of the Blue Note documentary 'It Must Schwing' tracked down Wolff's family. Apparently, it was a surprise to everyone when a wife and kids showed up at the funeral in 1971. Wolff had kept his personal life very private.

 

He had a family?! He is thought of as a bachelor when he's remembered...

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Yes. That was mentioned in the film. Everyone was shocked, even Lion, when his wife and kids showed up at the funeral. Why this was never told until the film is a mystery. She was African-American.

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7 hours ago, bertrand said:

Yes, he was definitely in the band by then. The unanswered question is whether he joined in late July or early August.

I thought Mosaic no longer controlled the Wolff images and their status was in limbo? I wonder if this related to the fact that the producers of the Blue Note documentary 'It Must Schwing' tracked down Wolff's family. Apparently, it was a surprise to everyone when a wife and kids showed up at the funeral in 1971. Wolff had kept his personal life very private.

 

They are still selling prints until Friday of this week.

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2 hours ago, hbbfam said:

Is this it?

 

This is a radio show, Schwing is a documentary film. I'll listen to this on my work commutes, though! Thanks!

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